Blog Entry

Yanks to find out if Montero is their DH answer

Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 2:06 am
 
BOSTON -- It's Sept. 1, and Jesus Montero is in the Yankees lineup.

Will he be there on Oct. 1?

There's no way to answer that yet, before Montero even gets his first big-league hit. There's no way, except to say that it's obvious the Yankees plan to give him a chance to be there.

This is not your normal September call-up.

On his first day in the major leagues, Montero was the Yankees designated hitter Thursday night against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester. He looked a touch nervous (understandable) and went 0-for-4, but he was also hit by a pitch and scored the winning run as the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 4-2.

It's clear he'll be the DH regularly, at least in the near future, against left-handed starters.

And against right-handers?

"That's something we'll decide on a daily basis," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday.

Notice that he didn't rule it out. He also didn't run from the question of whether Montero could be on the playoff roster, either.

Obviously, if the Yankees are going to play Montero regularly now -- even if it's just against lefties at first -- he has a chance to impress them enough to make the postseason roster. Even though he wasn't in the big leagues before September, he would be eligible to be selected because he could replace a player who is on the disabled list.

Now, is Montero good enough to warrant a spot? Is he a better option at DH than Jorge Posada, or a better option in the lineup against lefties than Brett Gardner (whose spot he basically took Thursday, with Andruw Jones playing left field)?

We're about to find out, aren't we?

"Look at his numbers off left-handers [in Triple-A]?" Girardi said. "He has really, really good numbers. We're hoping he can give us some lightning in a bottle. I told him, 'Just go out and be the guy you are.'"

Montero is a catcher, but it's unlikely he'll see much if any time behind the plate this month. The plan is to use him as a designated hitter.

In 109 games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Montero hit .288 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI. His OPS in 116 at-bats against left-handers was 1.039, as opposed to .728 against right-handers.

Montero is just 21 years old ("Really, really young," Girardi said), but he arrives as the most-hyped Yankees prospect in years. He has come up repeatedly in trade talks, and the Yankees nearly sent him to the Mariners last summer for Cliff Lee.

"This is my team," Montero said Thursday. "I want to be here forever."

The Yankees are just determining whether he should be here for now -- now and next month.


Category: MLB
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